English Heritage Announce 140,000 people visited Poppies: Weeping Window

Tuesday, 10th July 2018

Over 140,000 visitors to Carlisle Castle have seen the iconic sculpture Poppies: Weeping Window, English Heritage announce today.  On 8 July, having concluded its 47 days at the Castle as part of 14-18 NOW’s UK-wide tour of the poppies, English Heritage would like to thank those who have taken the time to come to Carlisle and admire the extraordinary sight of the ceramic poppies cascading down from the top of the keep into the outer ward.

Carlisle Castle was chosen to host the sculpture as a location with military connections and its architecture provided the unique opportunity for visitors to view the arch of Weeping Window from beneath.  Artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper launched the sculpture to the public on 23 May, which was attended by Sir Tim Laurence, Chairman of English Heritage, Kate Mavor, Chief Executive, and Nigel Hinds, Executive Producer of 14-18 NOW.

Andrea Selley, North Territory Director, English Heritage says; “This has been a momentous time for Carlisle Castle and the city of Carlisle itself.  These visitor numbers reinforce just how much the First World War has impacted the lives of us all today, and we are privileged to have played a small part in keeping alive the legacy of the sacrifice made by these men.  It has also reminded our visitors too of the role Carlisle Castle has played in the city over the last nine centuries.  We hope that many of these visitors are inspired to re-visit the Castle in the future and enjoy all that we have to offer here and in the fabulous region of Cumbria.”

Weeping Window will be seen next at Middleport Pottery in Stoke on Trent from 2 August. At the end of the tour Wave and Weeping Window will become part of the Imperial War Museums’ collection.


Notes to Editors

The presentations by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, give people across the UK the chance to experience the impact of the ceramic poppy sculptures in a range of places of particular First World War resonance. The sculptures have been displayed in 16 locations since the tour started in 2015 and viewed by 4 million people to date. At the end of the tour they will become part of the Imperial War Museums’ collection.
Throughout the First World War, Carlisle Castle was the headquarters for the Border Regiment, one of the oldest in the British Army. The poppy sculpture was displayed from the top of the keep, arched over the inner ward wall and cascaded down into the outer ward of the castle complex, an area which incorporates the military barracks and parade ground where troops were housed and trained in preparation for front-line combat in the First World War. A total of 23,000 recruits passed through the castle during the war.

Weeping Window is from the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ – poppies and original concept by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces. The installation was originally at HM Tower of London from August to November 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one for every British or Colonial life lost at the Front during the First World War. Together, the sculptures Wave and Weeping Window are made of over 11,000 poppies.

The tour has been made possible by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Backstage Trust, the Clore Duffield Foundation and the National Lottery. DAF Trucks are the transport sponsor for the UK presentations, and 14-18 NOW is delighted to partner with DAF on making this historic project a reality. The learning and engagement programme for the poppies tour is supported by the Foyle Foundation. Storage of the sculptures is generously provided by MTEC.

For further press enquiries please contact:

Kendra Grahame-Clarke, English Heritage North Tel: 07910 214474 Email: kendra.grahame-clarke@english-heritage.org.uk


Carlisle Castle

Carlisle Castle, with its military connections from the 11


century to today, is cared for and opened to visitors by English Heritage.  A key property in the north for the charity and home to Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life, the Castle is proud to host the Poppies in the final year of the national tour.   Flowing from the top of the keep, arcing over the inner ward wall and cascading down into the outer ward, the Weeping Window sculpture will allow visitors to see the structure from below for the first time.


In World War One, Carlisle Castle provided an HQ for the Volunteer Training Corps, accommodation for the Labour Corps, and was HQ for the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment from 1873 to 1959.  A total of 23,000 recruits passed through the castle during the First World War, with the war costing the Border Regiment nearly 7,000 lives.   The Regiment saw action in almost every theatre of war:  France, Flanders, India, Burma and Gallipoli, Italy, Mesopotamia and Macedonia.  Many Battle Honours were awarded to the Regiment, including five Victoria Crosses. 

Carlisle Castle, Castle Way, Carlisle, CA3 8UR



Paul Cummins

Paul Cummins MBE is a ceramic artist, internationally renowned for the installation 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' at HRP Tower of London 2014, as well as many other installations including his work on the Cultural Olympiad in 2012. Locations for previous works include the Houses of Parliament, Chatsworth House, Althorp Estate and Blenheim Palace. Paul was inspired to produce a ceramic poppy to honour every British or Colonial life lost at the Front during the First World War.


Tom Piper

Tom Piper MBE was Associate Designer for the Royal Shakespeare Company from 2004 to 2014, and was closely involved in the redevelopment of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. His theatre credits include over 30 productions for the RSC, including the award-winning History series. Other recent designs include Hamlet, King Lear (Citizens Theatre), Red Velvet (Tricycle Theatre and St Ann's Warehouse, Brooklyn), Tamburlaine (TFANA New York), Pride and Prejudice (Regent's Park Theatre), The King’s Speech (Birmingham Rep and Tour) and Zorro the Musical (West End and world tour). Piper's opera credits include Macbeth and Falstaff (Scottish Opera), Orfeo (ROH and Roundhouse). Tom collaborated with the British Museum and Alan Farlie Architects on the exhibition Shakespeare: Staging the World in 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Tom is a Creative Associate at the Tricycle Theatre.


His many awards include an Olivier Award (costume design) for the Histories series.


14 -18 NOW

14-18 NOW is a programme of extraordinary arts experiences connecting people with the First World War, as part of the UK’s official centenary commemorations. It commissions new work by leading contemporary artists across all art forms; the programme has included over 200 artists from 35 countries, with commissions taking place in 160 locations across the UK. Over 30 million people have experienced a project so far, including 7.5 million children and young people. 16.7million people took part in LIGHTS OUT in 2014, and 63% of the population were aware of Jeremy Deller’s 2016 work ‘We’re here because we’re here’. The UK tour of the iconic poppy sculptures by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper have been seen by 4 million people to date.  14-18 NOW has won many awards for its work, including the National Lottery Heritage Award 2017, a Museums Heritage Award and the Chairman’s Award at The Drum Social Buzz Awards 2016.  It is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and by additional fundraising.